The Bureau of Land Management’s Little Snake Field Office and the Moffat County 4-H Cloverbuds teamed up Memorial Day weekend to help control a noxious weed called the Dalmatian toadflax about 16 miles southwest of Craig, near Morapos Creek.
BLM workers and three Cloverbuds, ranging from ages 5 to 7, released about 400 small beetles Friday to help curb the spread of the invasive weed.
The Dalmatian toadflax is native to Eurasia, but has no natural predators in North America.
Christina Rhyne, a BLM rangeland management specialist, said the plant can be found in pastures and rangelands around the county.
In a news release, the BLM reported that the non-native plant develops extensive root systems and can “crowd out native vegetation, reducing forage and wildlife habitat value.”
In an attempt to control the invasive species, the BLM, with the help of the Cloverbuds, released a weevil called Mecinus janthinus, a species that is a natural predator to the toadflax in its Eurasian habitat.
“Bio-control is one of the tools that can be used in managing weed infestation,” Rhyne said. “It’s also great to have the kids help and talk to them about the impact of weeds and public lands in our area.”
This is the second year the Cloverbuds have helped the BLM with biological control efforts as a part of a community service project.
Rhyne said the children aided in the release of the tamarisk beetle last spring to help control the invasive tamarisk tree.
She said it is important to introduce youth to public land.
“It’s great just having them involved in their public lands and talking to them about natural resources in general,” she said.